Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

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Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby UncleMike » Thu May 03, 2012 9:31 pm

I currently have a working Ubuntu 11.04 installation on my machine and am trying to install Ubuntu 12.04 on a separate partition, with the two installations sharing a single swap partition. I have allowed for more than 4 primary partitions, and with each boot menu item I have setup the OS partition as sda1 and the swap partition as sda2. At the end of the Ubuntu 12.04 installation I get an error titled "Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1", the the message reading "Executing 'grub-install /dev/sda1' failed. This is a fatal error.".

I have tried multiple copies of the installation CD burned on multiple machines (from the same ISO image).

What am I doing wrong?
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby TeraByte Support(TP) » Fri May 04, 2012 6:52 am

That's strange, especially since I've installed Ubuntu 12.04 in that same configuration (sda1 = root, sda2 = swap, primaries not limited) a few different times in the past couple days. It booted and worked OK, and I didn't get any error message. And it sounds like you did it right....

Referring to this KB article: http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=279
As long as you do steps 3 through 6, that will ensure that the Ubuntu installer will see the correct partitions. It is especially important to do step 5, so that the MBR gets loaded with the partitions you want, before booting from the install CD. Also, even though you get that error, have you tried actually booting Ubuntu after the install to see what happens? Also, make sure the root partition is large enough.

Other than that, if you can post your partition table as seen from the Ubuntu installer, and post it here, that could bring something to light. To do that, you can choose the "Try Ubuntu" option, boot up to the Live CD desktop, and then run 'sudo fdisk -l' from a terminal.

Edit: Also, which file system did you select for the root partition?
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby UncleMike » Fri May 04, 2012 4:25 pm

Steps 3-6 of the linked article were done, specifically:

3. Partitions created in Bootit BM: sda1 = Linux Native, 60GB; sda2 = Linux Swap, 10GB
4. Created boot menu item for Ubuntu 12.04, with partition table specified as above
5. Select boot menu item from step 4
6. Boot the installation CD without selecting any other boot menu items

Here's the output of fdisk:

Disk /dev/sda: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders, total 625142448 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00037443

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 16065 122913314 61448625 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 604654470 625121279 10233405 82 Linux swap / Solaris
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$

I selected the Ext2 file system for the root partition. I have tried boot after the failed installation, and Bootit BM tells me that the partition is not bootable.

Also, I'm using a Dell machine that gives me the option to manually override the boot order by pressing a key during startup. I was originally manually selecting booting from the CD. I have since changed the boot order to use the CD first, and get the same results.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby TeraByte Support(TP) » Fri May 04, 2012 5:26 pm

I just tried here with partitions approx the same size (60 GiB root, 10 GiB swap), the same layout as you, and used ext2 for the root fs. And I got the same error as you did. Plus the installer crashed on me when I was trying to reboot, and the root fs ended up corrupted - not pretty.

I don't know what the problem actually is, but I'm guessing that if you use ext3 or ext4, you won't see it. All of the installs I did used ext4, and I didn't have any problems.They probably don't test much with ext2 anymore. I'll see if I can figure out more about what's going on when I get a chance.

Edit: A subsequent install to those same 2 partitions, but using ext4 as the root fs instead of ext2, worked OK.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby UncleMike » Fri May 04, 2012 7:48 pm

Using Ext4 solved the problem here too. Thanks for the help.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby DrTeeth » Sat May 05, 2012 5:29 am

On Fri, 4 May 2012 19:48:36 PDT, just as I was about to take a herb,
UncleMike disturbed my reverie and wrote:

>Using Ext4 solved the problem here too. Thanks for the help.

OT, just out of interest, why the large swap file? I don't use
hibernation on my Linux setups and have 2GB swap partitions. I did
read somewhere that that is the best size to use. I use 64 but
versions of Linux and have 8GB memory on this PC.
--

Cheers

DrT
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Re: Ubuntu 12.04 - Unable to install GRUB in /dev/sda1

Postby UncleMike » Sat May 05, 2012 6:57 am

DrTeeth wrote:
> OT, just out of interest, why the large swap file? I don't use

Because I didn't know what I was doing. Really. I don't think I've progressed much since then either. With 4GB of RAM, I don't think I've ever used the swap partition.
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